Date
23/11/2023

Category
News

Author
Colin Titmuss

Author
Rhea Jaju

New Outlook for Windows – Is this the end of the Classic version?

OPINION PIECE

Does the New Outlook for Windows spell the end of the Classic Outlook for Windows? The short answer is no, and here are some reasons why.

 

Microsoft has recently announced the launch of the New Outlook for Windows, a free email and calendar app that is included with Windows 11 and can also be installed on Windows 10.

The New Outlook for Windows is designed to offer a modern and simplified user interface, intelligent features, and cross-platform compatibility.  It effectively replaces the existing Windows Mail application aimed at the home/consumer market which Windows 10 and earlier had included natively.

Some organisations may wonder what this means for the Classic Outlook for Windows, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite and has been the preferred email client for many professionals and businesses for years.

  • The Classic Outlook for Windows is more than just an email and calendar app. It is a powerful and comprehensive productivity tool that integrates with other Microsoft 365 apps and services, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and more. Users can access, edit, and share files and documents, collaborate with colleagues, manage tasks and contacts, and perform advanced functions, such as mail merge, rules, macros, and encryption, all within the Classic Outlook for Windows. The New Outlook for Windows, on the other hand, is more focused on the core email and calendar functionalities, and does not offer the same level of integration and customization as the desktop version of Outlook.
  • The Classic Outlook for Windows also supports offline access, which means users can work on their emails and calendars even when they are not connected to the internet. Offline support is not yet available in the new Outlook for Windows and it is still unclear how this will work.
  • The Classic Outlook for Windows is more compatible and consistent than the New Outlook for Windows. The Classic Outlook for Windows supports a wide range of email protocols, such as POP3, IMAP, and Exchange, and can work with various types of email accounts, such as Microsoft, Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, and others. The New Outlook for Windows supports Microsoft accounts for work or school, and Outlook.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts with limited capabilities. The New Outlook for Windows also has a different user interface and functionality from the Outlook app for Mac, iOS, and Android, which may cause some confusion and inconsistency for users who switch between different devices and platforms.
  • The Classic Outlook for Windows supports thousands of COM/VSTO available in the marketplace that businesses depend on that are not supported by the New Outlook for Windows or Outlook for the web. Outlook add-ins are applications that extend the functionality of Outlook by adding information or tools that users can access without leaving their email client. They are built by third-party developers and can be installed from the Office Store or from a file or URL. Outlook add-ins have been around for a long time.
  • Office LTSC 2021 is built on Outlook 2019 which supports Microsoft 365 connectivity services until 2026 at least.  All these have COM add-ins included.
  • If you are planning on storing email in SharePoint, or already have emails saved in SharePoint, there is no easy way to open and continue working with these without Outlook add-ins such as MacroView DMS.
  • PST files are often used to bundle and export email during discovery, and the New Outlook for Windows currently lacks support for opening or creating PSTs.
  • The Windows Mail app offers a unified, single Inbox view across email accounts. The New Outlook for Windows does not offer this feature.

In conclusion, the New Outlook for Windows is not the end of the Classic Outlook for Windows, but rather a complementary and alternative option for users who prefer a simpler and more modern email and calendar app. So, although the New Outlook for Windows is being marketed as the preferred option for both Windows Mail and Classic Outlook users, its lack of enterprise features makes it a non-starter for larger organisations at this point in time. Whether it becomes viable in the future remains to be seen.

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